HowTheEnglish PatientandAdamBedeengage with realism
HowTheEnglish PatientandAdamBedeengage with realism
Realismby definition is an artistic technique, which was used by theclassical artists and novelists to demonstrate life as it is supposedto be (Sasani, Pourgiv, Abjadian & Ghasemi, 2010). It tends toshun away from the eminent issue of tragedy by supporting thequotidian. It includes the ordinary, average, as well as middle classtogether with their every day struggles. Realism aims at assuming aone-on-one association between two things the signifier as well aswhat symbolizes. In fact, realism should masquerade its own rank asruse, in addition to forcing language into precision by appealing tothe sense of reality that is created in an ideological way. It meansaddressing the readers in a manner that they are always.
Realismattains verisimilitude by using various ideological and fictitiousconventions empowered with a value of certainty. For instance, mostrealist novelists employ omniscient raconteurs. These kinds ofnarrators have the capacity of accessing to the thoughts,motivations, as well as the feelings of a character (Sasani, Pourgiv,Abjadian & Ghasemi, 2010). The sense of psychological strengthgenerated by this convention give the impression that the charactershave autonomous lives from the novel. However, this is not true. Theimpression is attained by the actuality that the novelist and thereader share certain reality codes which make them overlook they arein a fiction.
Thenineteenth century was characterized by the development of therealist novel. It is associated with various novelists includingGeorge Eliot who authored such novels as AdamBede.These novelists countered idealism by doing away with variousfeatures which they believed concealed the severe reality of life inan unreal miasma. Other novelists who came up during the twentiethcentury such as Michael Ondaatje also engaged with realism in theirwriting. It is certain that every generation of novelists inherit therealism of preceding generations, which it ascertains to beconventionalized and false. The current paper focuses on the issue ofrealism and how Eliot (Victorian period) and Ondaatje (postmodernism) have engaged with it.
AdamBedewas the initial novel authored by George Eliot. The novel waspublished in the Victorian period, in the year 1859 (Eliot, 1859). Itattributes comprehensive psychological and practical observationsregarding “common folk”, who are uneducated. They have superiorimmediacy to nature as compared to culture. As a result, they areregarded as representative of human nature. AdamBedecan be termed as a novel of immense ambition, and it is employed inEnglish literature by most learning institutions.
Eliotbecame famous during the Victorian period as a result of AdamBede. Accordingto Sasani,Pourgiv, Abjadian & Ghasemi (2010) thenovelisregarded as the initial key exercise inprogrammatic fictional reality in the English literature (p. 22).Inunderstanding Eliot engagement with realism in her novel, it isimportant to consider the meaning of the aspect. While the precisedefinition of realism has been an issue of debate among scholars inthe recent years, Eliot herself attempted to offer the meaning.According to her, realism means the principle of achieving beauty andreality in a truthful and modest exploration of nature. However,realism to the author did not signify the conviction that writing hasthe capacity of clearly representing the factual world. Her beliefwas that the real world should not be misrepresented of idealizedthrough writing. As explicated in Eliot’s essay TheNatural History of German Life (1856),realism is an artistic and ethical choice (Sasani, Pourgiv, Abjadian& Ghasemi, 2010). Aesthetic has a higher proximity to life.Through it, individuals are able to increase their experience andextend their contact to others surpassing the circle of theirpersonal life. During the 19th century and before, novel writing wasconsidered a middle class kind of aesthetic.
AdamBedeis an example of a novel that has applied realism to creativewriting. Eliot use of realism in the novel has been compared with theFlemishaswell as with English painting (Sasani,Pourgiv, Abjadian & Ghasemi, 2010). Thisis evident in AdamBede’s chapter17, where the author appears to encourage such a comparison. In thischapter, Eliot suspends her narration in order to develop on theprinciple of realism. She advices artists to stop focusing merely onthe “divine beauty of form” however, “provide the loving painsof a life to the faithful representing of commonplace things”(Eliot,1859). Bydoing this, artists contributes in assisting individuals learn torecognize and empathize with others “the fellow-mortals” (Eliot,1859). Thenovelist aims at providing a realistic description of things as wellas human as reflected in her mind. Realism to her is a philosophy,but not a fictional mode. It is consistent with the fictional pausepresent in this chapter. Eliot has prompted the readers tocontemplate on the writing of a novel, instead of engrossing them inits delusions. Through her narrative interruption, she has managed toimprove the realistic impact of the novel towards the readers. Thecharacter’s realistic portrayal has been supported by thenarrator’s rejection to romanticize the characters (Sasani,Pourgiv, Abjadian & Ghasemi, 2010).The main intention of the novelist is engaging the reader with thenarrative rather than creating a distance. Eliot’s engagement withrealism in this case is similar to other novelists in the Victorianperiod, who employed similar modes to generate the realism offiction.
Thetechnique of engaging readers with the novel brings out realism intwo ways. Readers do not take the novel as a fiction, and besides, itimpacts their actual world by learning to empathize with realindividuals. The raconteur has employed metalepsisin order to indicate his avowal of the characters’ reality (Sasani,Pourgiv, Abjadian & Ghasemi, 2010).This means that the characters can be empathized with the real readerand novelist. In referring to the idea of the realistic novel, Eliotpoints out that "then we shall see with a glance whom we are tocondemn, and whom we are to proven" (Eliot,1859, p.152).By doing so, the novelist provides clear instances of engagingreaders to a story of a common individuals and real world.
Anotherform of realism used by Eliot is the use of mood and voice. Theemotions and feelings of the readers have been engaged during theirreading procedure. The narrator has achieved this by using sympathy.Mood has been portrayed in events and scenes as well as factsprovided regarding characters (Sasani,Pourgiv, Abjadian & Ghasemi, 2010). Throughthis, Eliot represents a real world, enabling readers’ engagementand subsequently their sentiments are engaged. According to Eliot,sympathy has a great impact on realism fiction, besides lessening thedistance between the narrative and its recitation and subsequentlybetween the narrative and its readers (Eliot,1859). Eliot’suse of mood signifies its interdependency and interaction with voiceto depict the engaging approach employed in AdamBede.As a result, mood assists voice in enhancing the fiction realismillustrated in the novel. It also helps in engaging readers in animaginary world. It is important for Eliot to reach a wide array ofreaders through the use of voice. The method was also used by otherwriters in the Victorian period with the aim of creating a portrayingrealism in their writing.
Theprovision of realistic accounts by the author entails paying thoroughattention to various aspects including the settings of the novel aswell as its contexts, and in particular historical backgrounds(Sasani,Pourgiv, Abjadian & Ghasemi, 2010). Certainaspects including local parlance of Midlands and the landscapesymbolize how the novelist has been inspired by her early day’smemories. As acknowledged by Joseph Wiesenfarth, Eliot conductedresearch on fashion during the late eighteenth century, and facts ofthe weather in the year 1799 (Sasani,Pourgiv, Abjadian & Ghasemi, 2010). Thisis evidenced where she points out that “August seems to have been arainy month” (Sasani,Pourgiv, Abjadian & Ghasemi, 2010). Otheraspects investigated encompass global and national events such as thedemise of George Washington and the publication of the initial poetryof Wordsworth. Eliot appeared to engross herself in the practices andcultures of rural way of life. She did this by reading variousmanuscripts especially agricultural ones including ASix Month Tour andTheBook of the Farm (Sasani,Pourgiv, Abjadian & Ghasemi, 2010). Thenovelist research contributed greatly in engaging realism in AdamBede. Accordingto her, comprehensive understanding regarding the real circumstancesis significant as it could assist individuals work realistically ingenerating political as well as social modifications.
Tosum up, Eliot stresses on the truth of her creative writing. Thefiction as illustrated by the novelist must be real to life, and as aresult, this clear assertion works at engaging the readers in thestory. It also helps in bringing the story to life. She has referredto didactic reality, which is inherent in dramatic realism and overtin analytical realism.
TheEnglish Patient novelwas authored by Michael Ondaatje. The novel was published in 1992,and has won various prizes including the Booker Prize (Ondaatje,1993). The novel features four major characters including the titularpatient-who is burned and cannot be recognized- and he is assumed tobe English, the army nurse who is Canadian, a Canadian burglar, aswell as Sikh British Army sapper (Ondaatje, 1993). These charactershave been drawn collectively at an Italian villa at the time of anItalian Campaign during the Second World War (Ondaatje, 1993). Thenarrative has taken place at a period of North African Campaign. Ithas focused on the rising disclosures of the acts of the patientpreceding his injuries. It also details how the sentiments of othercharacters are impacted by such revelations. The novel was writtenduring post-modernism period. Ondaatjehas employed a number of styles in the novel, which indicates hisengagement with realism.
Ondaatjeis a post-modernism author, who has put in a nutshell thepostmodernist perception of identity in TheEnglish Patient. Hehas supported the aspect of sovereignty of manuscript (Ondaatje,1993). Itimplies that manuscript is not merely a source aimed at generatingmeaning additionally it is not rational, consistent or unified(Ondaatje,1993). Withthe aim of constructing the identities of the various charactersrepresented in the novel, Ondaatje has employed a non-conservativemanuscript structure in post-structuralism and postmodernist point ofview. The author has applied different postmodernism themes in thenovel to give it a sense of reality. For instance, fragmentation orbreaking up of the genre is a major feature. Fragmentation in thiscase has two important roles. Firstly, it has provided a realisticsituation and secondly, it has amplified the appeal of the novel(Ondaatje,1993). Theunclear line present between fiction and realism is vital for thereading process. It permits the readers to discover the minds of thecharacters. In this case, fragmentation is employed with theintention of improving the reading practice among readers.
Whilereading the novel, the readers can easily lose their way in thefragmented narrative. The narrator constantly draws the readers intothe past and back into the current time, without their knowledge. Hedoes this in a way least expected by the reader, making it more andmore interesting and real. Although it is fairly confusing,fragmentation generates a sense of reality throughout the narrative.For instance, it assists the reader in comprehending the characterslittle by little. As opposed to offering the life history of thecharacter, the narrator’s is provided as an alternative (Ondaatje,1993).Besides, the perception of one character on the particular characteris also offered. Fragmentation helps the reader access the opinionsof other individuals. This is achieved through memories and dreamswhich assists the reader in generating an image of the reality of thecharacter. It equips the readers with opinions of all characters.Fragmentation has been employed in all key characters, and this hasmade the narrative extremely decentered (Ondaatje,1993).
Theexistence of various poetical components in the novel does not onlybring out the reality in it, but it also makes it a masterpiece.Ondaatje has been extremely descriptive in his writing and describesall things in detail (Ondaatje,1993).This helps the reader have a clearer understanding of the novel, andidentify with it. The aspect of sympathy in bringing out realism isevident in the novel. It is evidenced when the patient’s actsbefore the injury are revealed. It is certain that the revelationsimpact the sentiments of other characters. By reading the novel,readers are able to identify with such a situation, which in turnimpacts their emotions, subsequently they empathize with thecharacter like in the real world, bringing out fiction realism(Ondaatje,1993).This means that the characters can be empathized with the real readerand novelist. Readers do not take the novel as a fiction, andbesides, it impacts their actual world by learning to empathize withreal individuals.
Ina nutshell, the employment of post modernism themes in TheEnglish Patient hashelped in eliciting fiction realism, besides generating anexceptional reading experience. This implies that postmodernism isbeneficial as it comprises of techniques which are important forfuture realism in fiction.
Thecurrent paper has focused on how TheEnglish Patient,written during postmodernism period, andAdamBede,written during the Victorian period, have engaged with realism. Thenovels have been authored by Michael Ondaatje and George Eliotrespectively. During these two periods, most authors used variousaspects in order to bring out the reality in their writing. Realismattains verisimilitude by using various ideological and fictitiousconventions empowered with a value of certainty. For instance, mostrealist novelists employ omniscient raconteurs. These kinds ofnarrators have the capacity of accessing to the thoughts,motivations, as well as the feelings of a character. Accordingto Eliot, realismmeans the principle of achieving beauty and reality in a truthful andmodest exploration of nature.Adam Bede isregarded as the initial key exercise inprogrammatic fictional reality in the English literature. The novelis anexample of a novel that has applied realism to creative writing.Eliot use of realism in the novel has been compared with the Flemishaswell as with English painting. Eliot has prompted the readers tocontemplate on the writing of a novel, instead of engrossing them inits delusions. Through her narrative interruption, she has managed toimprove the realistic impact of the novel towards the readers. Thecharacter’s realistic portrayal has been supported by thenarrator’s rejection to romanticize the characters. Eliot also usesmood and voice to bring out realism. Ondaatjeemploys fragmentationto generate a sense of reality throughout the narrative. Besides, theexistence of various poetical components in the novel does not onlybring out the reality in it, but it also makes it a masterpiece.
Eliot,G. (1859). AdamBede(1st ed.). London: John Blackwood.
Ondaatje,M. (1993). TheEnglish Patient.New York: Vintage Books.
Sasani,S., Pourgiv, F., Abjadian, A., & Ghasemi., P. (2010). Engagingstrategies in Adam Bede. TheJournal of Teaching Language Skills,2 (3).